Plantations International News

Oakland Biofuels is looking to launch a new cellulosic ethanol production technology in Mid-Wales, UK, using bracken as a feedstock.

The facility will be the first of its kind in Europe to use the new technology in conjunction with bracken.

Jeremy Oakley, director of Oakland Biofuels, says the company has been looking for alternative uses for bracken already for some years, with the main focus being on renewable energy.

‘Bracken has been the scourge of most hill and upland farmers for many years and is rapidly becoming out of control as its growing area increases year on year due, partly, to the change in climate,’ Oakley explains.

Oakley solved the problem of harvesting the bracken, which often grows on difficult and hard-to-reach terrain, by sourcing remote controlled, lightweight machines from Europe.

These machines do not damage the environment as tractors do, can operate in wet and damp environments, and may, Oakley hopes, help improve the sustainability of upland farming.

Oakland Biofuels is now in the process of making arrangements with Welsh farmers to harvest bracken from their lands year round when weather and environmental conditions so allow.

While the company is not looking to pay the farmers, they would benefit from a free clearing service that could free up land previously made unsuitable for farming.

Biofuels Plantations International